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She Has No Head! – Jean Grey Sheds Mary Sue Image, Becomes Awesome & Complex!

X-Men Season One. Dennis Hopeless (writer). Jamie McKelvie, Mike Norton (artists). Matthew Wilson (colors). Clayton Cowles (letters). Julian Totino Todesco (cover). Marvel Comics. Hardcover, full color, 136 pages (includes a preview of Uncanny X-Men). $24.99

As someone always on the lookout for strong layered portraits of female characters, I was delighted to find just that in Dennis Hopeless & Jamie McKelvie’s X-Men: Season One (terrible title) in the form of their re-imagining of Jean Grey.  I have never been a big fan of Jean Grey in any of her incarnations; she was always the definition of a Mary Sue to me.  Too nice, too smart, too powerful, too kind, too beautiful (I mean she was a model at one point…gimme a break), too perfect, and everyone too in love with her. I mean, she was that character that when asked “what is your greatest weakness?” would have to be all “Um…my obsession with perfection?”

Sure there were portrayals of her over the years that I liked and stories I found interesting – like any X-Men fan I enjoyed The Phoenix and Dark Phoenix Sagas, and I never hated her or anything extreme, but she was never a character that worked for me as so many others did. Jean Grey never had that moment for me where a character you didn’t care for one way or another suddenly became amazing – like for Cyclops it was when he led the nearly helpless Acolytes out of the Australian desert without bitching once in X-Men #44 – I never saw Scott Summers the same after that issue.  But all that changes today.  Jean Grey and I have finally had that moment, and it was not just one moment but a slight tweak to her in general throughout X-Men: Season One, that has finally made her very compelling to me and dare I say, for the first time, she feels human to me.

Not only does the book do a great job of potentially bringing in new readers and pleasing old fans (more on that in a bit) but it’s an excellent reminder of what a good character rehab can do. I frequently find myself writing off certain characters. “Oh, I don’t like so and so…never have…blah blah blah.” But one of the few great things about comic characters being owned by corporations is that there are in fact almost limitless opportunities for characters to be re-imagined or re-worked into something that is superior to what has come before (which is exactly the opposite position that I took recently here…isn’t it nice when good books challenge your ideas!)  This is one of those times where getting a chance to see a character a whole new way is a great thing, and I can now officially change how I think of Jean Grey, thanks to Hopeless and McKelvie’s take. Nuanced and balanced? Yes! Realistic and well considered? Yes! Amazing but flawed? Yes! This is a Jean Grey I can get behind.

X-Men: Season One gives Jean Grey a much needed facelift, while somehow staying true to the character (and the events that we all know have come before).  Hopeless and McKelvie have managed to create a layered amazing young girl who is still powerful and whip smart, but also full of doubt and insecurity, and even a few flaws. Though she continues to be adored by all her teammates, the relationships each feel unique and make sense for all the characters involved. They’re also far more nuanced than simply “boys pine for attractive redhead simply because she’s the only girl around.”  Now, her crush on Warren Worthington seems warranted, and his obliviousness to it is painful but makes a certain amount of sense. Her sisterly affection (and annoyance) with young Bobby Drake has a nice dimension, and her deep friendship with Hank McCoy has layers that I’ve always felt were there for them as adults, but never really experienced. The result of fleshing all of those relationships out in more realistic and subtle ways, is that her relationship with Cyclops becomes even more interesting. Seeing them together, newly, but in the same story any X-Men fan knows by heart, for the first time really clicked for me. Sure, I know all the reasons she supposedly loved him – but I always had a hard time seeing it. But experiencing it through Hopeless and McKelvie’s story is the difference between show and tell. I always knew the story, but now I can FEEL the story. And it makes all the difference.  It’s clever and well done and I confess it made me insanely happy to see these characters I know so well slightly re-imagined and updated with such care and consistency.

In McKelvie’s hands, Jean is beautiful (with, it must be said, the most fantastic hair ever) but she still looks like a girl and not a supermodel. She has a wonderful style but it feels authentic and well considered rather than that same lazy “sexy/hot” thing comics is constantly trying to feed us. She’s beautiful and fit, but she looks like a young girl, and one that could be an athlete. McKelvie’s precise, clean, unfussy style is a perfect fit for a book like this because he both manages to capture these characters we all know and love, but brings a simplicity to his storytelling and character design that cannot possibly be off-putting to new readers. There is not a single panel that’s confusing, and yet they’re all beautiful as well. And while the focus of this book is Jean Grey, McKelvie clearly spent a lot of time thinking about the ways he could update all of these characters visually, while keeping them easily recognizable. Bobby has a an annoying Justin Bieber-ness that is clever; Scott looks appropriately closed off and serious with a side of OCD; Warren is dashing and handsome, but always in expensive looking tailored coats and jackets to hide his wings; and Hank, well, Hank has never looked better, and I’ve never been a huge fan of the visuals for pre-blue and furry Beast. With giant hands and feet, the latter of which always refuse shoes, and a short but wide body-type, McKelvie has done a particularly wonderful job capturing Hank’s charm and beauty, and the body language that makes his character so distinctive.

X-Men: Season One makes an exceptional argument for updating and modernizing old stories and properties. What Hopeless and McKelvie have done is actually very subtle. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard to reach an audience, or be cool, or badass, it just kind of is. Which is the best kind of cool quite frankly. The book is smart and funny, and the character work is top notch. Though Jean is the focus of the piece (another smart move since she’s the sole female character) all of the characters have good page time, and are credibly developed. The writing feels current, but with a few exceptions is not steeped in pop culture references or “modern flourishes” that it will feel dated any time soon. In 50 years will there be anything in this book as cringe inducing as reading Professor Xavier having a crush on Jean? I don’t think so. Then again, I thought I’d have my hoverboard by now and be on my way to a flying car, and never imagined I’d be reading a book that wasn’t an actual book, so what do I know?  Certainly for now and the non-hoverboard forseeable future, the book stands up beautifully.

While Hopeless and McKelvie’s book is obviously aiming for new readers (and quite successfully I would say, assuming they can get it into their hands) I don’t think there’s anything off-putting for old readers either. If you’re just looking for good comics, they’ve done that too. The book easily straddles both worlds in more ways than one. It not only feels updated and modernized, while still being true to the characters; but it also manages to both innocently tell the story of the beginnings of these characters while nicely foreshadowing all that we know will come for them…all that many of us are seeing come to them in the pages of other books like the current runs of Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine & The X-Men, it’s truly interesting stuff.

Check it out for yourself:

there is a page between these two (which is why the caption is repeated)

Without setting out to write this piece to take a swing at DC’s new 52…I find myself going there anyway. DC relaunched their entire line…we all know it…we all feel differently about it. The net result for me, thanks to disappointing roles for female characters, and a kind of shocking lack of inspiration in a lot of the creators they opted to use to re-invent that line, is that I’m reading far less DC than ever before. This is not something I’m excited by as some of my favorite characters are DC characters – and I miss them – or at least I miss versions of them that I love and believe in – desperately. But I’m struck by Marvel’s interesting work re-inventing things is a much smaller way…but with fantastic results.

This book is a perfect example. But you can also look at Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli’s Ultimate Spider-Man, a nearly perfect superhero origin tale as far as I’m concerned. And while I know many fans were sad to lose the Ultimate Peter Parker (I’m sure he’ll be back – it IS comics we’re talking about), at least it being an Ultimate story allowed the original Peter Parker (and his longtime fans) to now lose everything. I know they’re different, but I couldn’t tell you how grateful I’d be to still be reading some version of Cassandra Cain…Ultimate or otherwise. So it’s a way to give without entirely taking away, like so much of what we’ve seen with the new 52.  You can also read Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera’s completely enjoyable new Daredevil, which has a decidedly different feel to it than the Daredevil of years past, and Greg Rucka’s Punisher. Again, a fairly new series, with incredibly talented creators on board and doing much more subtle reinventions…things that don’t necessarily upset the apple cart, but are damn good comics. Then there’s Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo’s flat out balls to the wall brilliant Wolverine & The X-Men. And even, in a slightly different way you have Warren Ellis’ Secret Avengers – one of the best six-issue superhero comics runs I’ve read in years and which included a rotating cast of some of the best artists in the business.

These are all books with comparable issue runs to what DC has put out for the new 52, and yet pound for pound, they’re far better books than what I’m seeing at DC. Sure, DC has some standouts. Batwoman has been great, but the writing in the new arc has been confusing and terribly erratic, and now we’re having a disappointing art team shake up after just eight issues. Duane Swierczynski’s Birds of Prey is fantastic, but eight-issues in we’re losing the artist that helps make it so great – Jesus Saiz. Of course Travel Foreman will also be good, but inconsistency like that is terrible for books that are struggling to find their audience. Scott Snyder’s Batman is wonderful, as is his Swamp Thing, and Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man, but these are the shining standouts among an entire line of 52 books – many a handful of which have already been canceled. Meanwhile the reworked books I’ve read on Marvel’s side are pretty much ALL good, with smart and consistent creative teams, and even excellent fill-in artists that keep the quality level unbelievably high (Chris Samnee on Ultimate Spider-Man, Nick Bradsaw on Wolverine & The X-Men, etc)

It all lends weight to the idea, for me at least, that a line-wide relaunch ends up being mostly a publicity stunt that doesn’t serve your books long term. It’s too hard to get the quality you need when there’s that much overhaul, and not enough oversight.  You’re better off using a scalpel than a hatchet when approaching these things.  With a scalpel you can pick and choose and do it right and get books like X-Men Season One, with a hatchet the precision is gone, and you end up mostly with noise (possibly screaming).

33 Comments

I very highly recommend all of Jeff Parker’s First Class work. Shame on everyone that stood knee deep in crossovers while that series caved in on its fun, beautiful self.

Although, it had a finite engine and pretty much achieved all it really could. Best ongoing story featuring the original five in these 40-something years.

Cancelled most of the new 52? Uh, six books is a fraction, not most. And the only good one was OMAC, the rest sucked. They’re getting replaced by what look like either good books (Morrison back on Batman Inc, World’s Finest will at least have a brilliant art team, but I think Kieth Giffen has earned the benefit of the doubt, Robinson is going back to his roots to do Earth-2 and I have faith we won’t be getting Cry For Justice Robinson, and say what you will about Mackie, the guy has done good work on the past and his Ravagers book is coming out of a crossover of two books that have been consistently good since they started, Dial H has a fan-favorite writer on it) or a book that is essentially one of the cancelled books it is replacing.

A lot of Marvel’s books are mediocre too, unless you’re talking about Spider-man or the X-Men. Fantastic Four is boring as all hell, the Ultimate books are still nowhere as good as they’ve been in the past, with the exception of Spidey (SHOCKER!!), and the heroes line of books are pretty tepid (boring Hulk relaunch, Fraction writing Thor and Iron Man, where nothing is happening [SHOCKER!!], Cap has sucked since they brought back Steve) The saving grace of the X-Men is that the worst books they have are mediocre, and at least those mediocre books feature characters that wouldn’t normally be seen in anything other than a cameo or non-speaking background shot, which is nice for their fans. The avengers books? The only one I would be reading if it wasn’t for artists like Simonson or Deodato or this AVX event is Secret Avengers, because of Remender, and he’s doing better work with the covert shiz in X-Force. AvX has also been really good so far but A. we have yet to read a Fraction or Brubaker issue (two guys who couldn’t get the X-Men less than they already do) and B. this is a story that can be great all the way up to the last issue and still suck just because of the ending.

I think this is such an interesting article. I particularly liked your point about different approaches being available when it comes to revamping characters and the discussion of how characters can be updated/modernized while still remaining recognizable.

I absolutely agree with Duff McWhalen that Parker’s First Class work is another example of updating characters while staying true to their key established traits. I think Jean Grey and Bobby Drake particularly benefited from Parker’s work, and I came away from that series very fond of both characters in a way I hadn’t been previously.

Jean Grey is the original x-man, to me, that needed the most revamping and I think there are a combination of factors at play there: the era in which the x-men were created, the way that many comic creators over the years have failed when it comes to writing realistic seeming female characters, and the amount of time she’s spent dead and therefore not being developed as a character, to name just a few. It’s nice to see that recent writers have been up to the challenge!

I think the issue is quality over quantity. I admire DC for doing the Hail Mary pass of throwing out 52 comics, many of which with new or underexposed characters, or unrepresented Genres. The problem is that the quality of these books has not been as high as you might like.

By the same token I have a lot less excitement for Marvel’s clear strategy of expanding the core franchises at the expense of 2nd or 3rd tier characters that could be great in the right hands. But the quality of the stuff they are putting out seems a bit higher than DCs.

If only you could combine the two.

” I’m reading far less DC than ever before.”

Me too. I’m down to one out of 52, Batwoman– and there’ve been times in the 2000s when I was probably buying 20 DCU books per month. This is the first time in my life I’ve bought more Marvel than DCU books.

Agreed about soft relaunches at Marvel vs. the 52 crud. I’ve begun thinking that Morrison’s old idea about the DCU becoming so intertwined and complex that it achieves a sort of sentience of its own has actually ended up happening at Marvel. I’m excited for so many Marvel books these days, and even the 52 books I liked initially have lost their steam.

And of course after your post some anonymous person would go on a tear of “NUH UH DC IS GREAT MARVEL SUCKS!” as if that is the point.

x-men season one is awesome you guys should definitely pick it up

I’m glad SOMEBODY talked about this thing. I thought it was a great read, with wonderful McKelvie artwork. I thought using Jean Grey as the filter for the audience to see all these strange, wonderful characters was an inspired choice, along with her more down to Earth, relatable characterization. One of my favorite scenes is when Jean and Cyclops are stuck in the Danger Room and have that heart-to-heart. It’s a great bit of character work that explains why perfect, wonderful Jean Grey would fall for a guy with as many flaws and insecurities as Scott Summers. The man is a bonafide SUPERHERO; laser eyes aside he’s Marvel Universe’s Batman, in his dedication to train every day to help a world that hates and fears mutants.

Very good accessible read, highly recommend to anybody with any interest in the X-men

It’s weird, I’ve seen ads for these “season one” books but haven’t really seen much buzz about them. Thanks for this. I need to pick up this book.

My only complaint is that it’s paired with the relaunched Uncanny X-Men 1, which after reading the Season 1, is really jarring and while I can see it being argued that “well, it gives new readers questions to go find out what changed” involves trying to find back catalog books that are already out of print.

Currently rethinking my decision to skip all the Season One books.

My favorite portrayal of Jean was always Morrison’s. In NXM the Phoenix was actually a part of Jean’s character and not just something that happened to her which, ignoring all the continuity kerfuffle about whether that’s actually true, lends to way more interesting characterization. The issue where she tears through Emma’s mind is probably my favorite story for both of those characters, and Jean somehow ends up coming off as the bad guy.

This from a writer that has been 100% candid about her distaste for the nu52 Wonder Woman. Ulterior motive?

@Duff: I’ve heard good things about First Class – it’s definitely on my list to check out.

@Anon 9:49: I never said most. I did say many, and I have amended that to “a handful” which is probably more accurate. Still, learn to read.

@Meg: Thanks. If you haven’t read this book yet, I really do recommend it.

@El Bryanto: Agreed, I probably could have saved myself a couple thousand words with “quality over quantity” :)

@Jacob T. Levy: Yes, I think I’m down to 6 books, and the occasional one off for CBR reviewing purposes. Before the relaunch I was at well over a dozen.

@Joe Rice: Yes, it’s true…I don’t know why people want to whittle this down to Marvel v DC…it’s so not the issue. And it’s true that I started out with a lot more new DC 52 books than I have now.

@lee/Jeremy: Agreed, great book.

@Pj Perez: I highly recommend it.

@Alan: I agree with you. I thought the Uncanny X-Men printed in the back was an odd/bad choice and one very much not in synch with the Season One. I feel like fans of this would need to look for “Season Two” or “Season One #2″ whichever way they go. Even Wolverine & The X-Men would have been a better match tonally I think.

@Elpie: Yes, this is my first Season One book, but if they’re all at this quality level, we’re in for a treat.

@Guh: Yes, I have been 100% candid about my absolute love for Wonder Woman (and have promoted the crap out of it) and then I was 100% candid about my distaste for issue #7 and subsequent need to drop the book. And then here again I was 100% candid about my opinion of the two approaches – i.e. soft and hard reboots. What exactly is your complaint? You prefer people to NOT be 100% candid? So noted!

maverickman874

April 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Haven’t read X-Men season one but FF: Season One also seemed to have the focus primarily on Sue. So both season ones used the females in the team as gateways.

Will read X-Men Season one soon.

While all you said is absolutely true….aw heck, there’s only one character of any medium who can’t be revamped at all, and he’s played by Roger Daltrey:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cySnG42s0lE&feature=related

Great review, Kelly! This book wasn’t on my radar before, but I like how you broke it down and the sample pages sealed the deal for me. I’ll be checking it out now :)

This is the first time I’ve seen preview pages for this – and I gotta say it reads and looks real well. I like the original x-men, so seeing them together again for the first is nice ( even the ultimate line didn’t have just the 5 originals, so its feel like they are never alone together).

And is it just me, or is there alot of male T&A in those? Not that I’m complaining (I like the iceman scene, and Angel looks like a male where he should – if you get what I’m saying!) Its refreshing to see. Unlike so many titles that have bikinis as the womens costumes?!?

Might have to actually check this out.

Cant stand Ult Spiderman because it so decompressed and expensive thats its a waste of money. And I’m feeling the same way with alot of the nu52 – Batman & Robin has taken 8 issues to tell its first arc – it could of easily been 4 issues. And while I did love the first few issues of Snyders Batman, it to has got to the point where not much is happening in any given issue as well (issue 7 is a great example!) – the first storyline is gonna take a year to be told (and about 10 titles now!).

@ Joe Rice
You missed my point – BOTH companies have great stuff, good stuff, mediocre stuff (the largest category for both) and bad stuff. To find fault with DC over a relaunch that saved their asses because you feel like they screwed over a character you like? I am a Wally West, Stephanie Brown and JSA fan. I felt a little screwed over too, but I gave a lot of the DC books a chance, and I’m glad I did because I’ve enjoyed everyone I picked up. And my patience has paid off because now I’m getting 2 – TWO!! – JSA books. Also, I never said Marvel was bad – if you read my post, you’d see I’m a huge fan of them too because I’m getting a lot of those books too.

@ Kelly
Yeah, many and most are just opposite ends of the spectrum, right? Lol, me am so retarded me no can read!!! Duh-huh. Forgive me for typing up my post AFTER I finished reading the WHOLE article, and didn’t think to go back and double check before I called you out for an exaggeration. I’m sorry. But you also must have thought my point was valid because you edited your article after my post. My point was that DC was cutting a few titles that honestly were low sellers for a reason, and were replacing them with titles that honestly do sound a lot more interesting. Just because they fucked up Wonder Woman in the restructuring of their universe does not qualify the relaunch as a failure. WW is among a minority of failed or shitty books, DC is not hopeless. Quit making this out to be something it’s not

Although I agree, this is a great book, but do we really need a re visioning of the silver age stuff? Why not have these guys do something… new? Is this not Marvel pulling a George Lucas and trying to essentially make a Special Edition version of their silver age continuity? This isn’t like the First Class books which were a sort of Lost Years stories. They’re falling into a trap, if you go back and try to edit things once, you’ll get sucked into a death spiral where you constantly update things, next thing you know you’re making shitty prequels.

Oh yes @Anon 10:03, how dare I call you out the same way in which you called me out, except for not as bad, because I didn’t misquote you.

The horror.

I also at no time said DC was hopeless…so the misquoting continues I guess?

Marvel is not “pulling a George Lucas” with X-Men: Season One. “Pulling a George Lucas” would be if they went back and disassembled the original X-Men issues and drew in new pages and whited shit out.

Re-imagining something for a new generation is not the same thing as fucking up the original.

That said, I’m not sure what your point is. If you knew anything about me you’d know that I read almost every first issue for the New DC 52 as part of writing this column. I’m glad your DC books worked out for you, by and large mine didn’t and given how big the field was I think it demonstrated a clear lack of quality control in favor of an “event” which is what I discussed here.

@ Kelly
Hopeless was more a summation of the point of your article – that DC just can’t seem to get things right with this relaunch. BUT…. they did. Sales went up and have been sustained. And wow, you read all the first issues?! I have averaged at least 12 DC titles a month since the relaunch, times that by 8 months… I’ve read 96 issues (Conservatively) to your 52 (lets say 75, since you did stick on some titles afterwards, right?) but all mine are continuous runs of the same series. Meanwhile half the stuff you read was just the opening salvo. In this case, I don’t know if people should take your word over mine on the quality of the relaunch. My titles have been good CONSISTENTLY for 8 issues, while you seem to be writing this whole thing off because of Wonder Woman (which really just fucked up 1 issue). Yes, it’s a shame that once again DC has perpetuated the shtick that WW gets a shitty revamp, but on the whole they got it right with this relaunch. That’s my point, that this relaunch is being too easily written off.

And about the many/most thing, my point was that you were misleading people with an exaggeration and then used a technical slip-up to insult me. IIRC, I didn’t insult you anywhere. Was I snarky? A little bit, but I’m snarky with everyone.

And I still think it’s a waste of time to do these revisionist history stories; we don’t need to redo the Silver Age stories, let’s do something NEW instead of retreading literally the same continuity. (Please no jokes about the companies publishing practices, you guys know what I mean)

@Anon 12:00:

I’m sorry, but you just have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to me and I’d appreciate it if you did not superimpose your own ideas of what you believe I mean over what I have ACTUALLY SAID. My dislike of the new 52 has literally nothing to do with Wonder Woman (hence why it is NEVER mentioned in this column). Wonder Woman is a comic that I was in love with until the seventh issue and praised greatly. You think one book disappointing me out of 52 would cause me to dismiss an entire line? C’mon now, be reasonable.

I read I believe 48 of the 52 first issues because of a feature I was running on this column. Of those 48 issues I believe I thought 12 were decent comics that I would try to continue reading. The rest I found to be complete shit quite frankly. Poor quality, horrible execution, and with far too little oversight and shocking lack of imagination. From those 12 that I continued reading, after less than eight full months of reading I am down to about 6. I do really like those 6 books, but these are not good numbers/averages (in general) considering I was someone buying between 12 and 15 DC books a month consistently as a regular reader prior to the relaunch.

On the whole DC DID NOT get it right on the relaunch in my opinion, and your feeling that they did get it right is I’m sorry to say, an opinion of no higher value than mine. For me it’s a tired retread for the most part that with a few wonderful exceptions is not innovative or full of the quality I would expect to see with such an event, and it makes even less sense continuity wise than what we had before, which may be fine for old fans who are used to screwed up continuity, but it’s a terrible model for the new fans that they say the want.

I also don’t believe it will be considered a success (financial or otherwise) in the long run because of how expensive it was to pull off and how the sales are falling (in my opinion for lack of quality). Of course they got a lot of attention and sales and big bump…it’s like any big event, but even bigger and with a huge expensive publicity push. But already a silly event like Avengers v X-Men is coming along and destroying these books in sales…not because Avengers v X-Men is good…but because it’s “the next thing.”

I’m happy for you that the re-launch has worked out for you. That is not my experience. And you’re welcome to write your own column about that. Have a great time.

@ Kelly
1 book is destroying them – the event book. And what was the rest of the top ten that month? Pretty much all DC. I don’t think Wolverine and the X-Men (btw, the best X-Men book in a long ass time, if not the best ever) cracked the top 10 more than once. It’s a shame, but that’s because it has had some good, quality competition. Look at the numbers since the relaunch – 8 months in and every one of those months compared to last year’s month has seen a double digit increase in sales.

And quality? So far, I’ve seen a few titles get bad reviews, but for the most part the books have been bordering on mediocre and good – it would be nice if things were better, but I’m not writing the relaunch off because instead of all the books being stellar, the quality breakdown across the board is pretty much the same as Marvel’s. Then look at the fact that 5 of the 6 cancelled books were complete shit, and 5 of the 6 replacements look a lot more interesting and of better quality – I’m not worried about DC.

I can’t believe out of all 52 books, you would say that only 6-12 weren’t complete shit – isn’t that a bit of a misleading exaggeration? CBR’s reviews certainly haven’t been as scathing, and Linkara, another legit comics reader and one who hated the idea of the relaunch actually seemed to like about 3/4 of the books. I am not in the minority when it comes to this opinion.

And it’s not like they haven’t done this before – the transition from the Golden Age to Silver Age, Crisis – it’s what DC does, and in a lot of ways this was quite a bit more graceful than COIE. And could you maybe elaborate on your point about how this will only hurt DC in the long run? I think Marvel’s revisionist policy is more hurtful. They do a lot of stuff that becomes dated, and in order to fix it they retell origins that will eventually become dated, and they’ll have to do it again, and the continuity gets muddled in the process. I’ll give them credit on this, Season One works and it has a timeless feel. On the other hand, when you get a reboot from Marvel, you more often end up with OMD/BNDs than anything else, poorly explained continuity muddling messes.

DC has easily recognizable cut-off points, it’s easier to figure out what’s essential reading as a new reader. The double edged sword is that it also makes it very easy for new readers to write off some older stories as non-essential, “they don’t count anymore,” so they don’t have to read them. And it’s a shame because a lot of that stuff that “doesn’t count” is actually really good.

And DC’s choice in creators bugs you … why? Because guys like Lobdell, Liefeld and some others got work? These are the two I constantly see cited as why this relaunch is so horrible – guys who collectively manage 4 titles, and starting next month, 6. I’m sorry, but Lobdell has proved himself on TT and Superboy, hands down. And Liefeld was drawing a book no one gave a shit about anyways – seriously, would anyone have given a shit about Hawk and Dove if he wasn’t drawing it? At least the guy brings about 20,000 guaranteed sales with him, but even his fanboys couldn’t save a concept that has lost a lot of meaning outside the ’60s. And the 3 books he’s writing now are three books that would blow balls anyways if he wasn’t writing them. Hawkman is a guy who really only works as a member of a team, Deathstroke should just be a TT villain, and Grifter… seriously, Grifter? But if the replacement books and talent for them are anything like the replacements for the current cancelled batch, then I’m not worried.
I’m actually looking forward to it.

All I was trying to say is that maybe it’s unfair to write off DC, just like it would be unfair to write off Marvel because AvX is kind of dumb in a way and its tie-ins are pointless cash grabs. That’s really the only point of your article I took issue with, and I’m a little depressed that because of it I became the villain. I was just trying to explain my view of things, since, you know, that’s what the comments are for. I thought the rest of the article was good, and I’m glad other people are trying to raise the awareness of something that will probably end up being forgotten in the shuffle of the Schism status quo and AvX. And I agree – a lot of female characters are getting the shaft. While I like Red Hood in general, the Starfire thing is definitely a huge con. The Batgirl they have right now is not my Batgirl. And for about three months, I was really upset that none of the JSA/Earth-2 inspired characters were in this new universe. But now Huntress (minus the belly window) and Powergirl (minus the boob-window) are getting a buddy book, drawn by two of the best artists in the industry. I’m a little more optimistic about things now.

Can you really blame DC for going out on a limb and trying risky concepts and teams, giving things a chance that had they been proposed at Marvel would have been laughed out of the editor’s office? Yes, you occasionally get some crap titles, but it’s also how you end up with the next Starmans, JSAs, JLIs, Booster Golds, etc. The fact that these titles exist means DC is keeping an open mind, which I think bodes well for their readers.

I’m sad for you that the relaunch didn’t work out for you. That is not my experience.

Also, I know you didn’t bring up WW in the article, but based off your last few articles and now this one, I was just reading between the lines.

@Anon 2:29: I think you mean one single article from last month.

Regardless, thanks, but I don’t need you to read between the lines for me. Just go ahead and read the actual lines.

@Anon 2:22: Honestly, I don’t even know where you’re getting this.

I am not writing off DC, nor do I think Marvel is some bastion of perfection. This is not a Marvel v DC argument…mostly because i don’t care much about Marvel v DC. I was simply drawing a comparison between some books I’ve read in the last nine months and how the line-wide hard reboot has really not worked for me based on a lack of quality and not enough oversight/innovation, etc. And that the books I’ve read on the Marvel side that are doing much softer and limited reboots (Ultimate Spider-Man, DD, Wolverine & The X-Men, X-Men Season One, etc.) have been much better comics in that context.

As for A v X, we’ll see what happens, very few books have been released so far. I bet we’ll see a change as the event gets going.

I do not blame DC for going out on a limb and trying new things. I blame DC for PRETENDING to go out on a limb and try new things and then doing all of the same OLD things, including the creators they hired, who were a lot of times not the best and the brightest from their fields, but simply “old friends.” I think the line, in general, with some wonderful exceptions, proves it out. It’s a missed opportunity to me.

As for CBR reviews. Please don’t quote CBR reviews to me. I write reviews for CBR and am well aware of the ratings things get. Ratings are a nice guideline, but all reviewers are not a hive mind, shocking I know, and we frequently don’t agree, the same way you and I clearly do not.

That said, I’ve wasted far too much of my time arguing with you. Continue if you like, write your own column, whatever. I’m done.

I still don’t understand why I’m being treated like a troll – it looks like someone has trouble dealing with criticism. I mean, I think I’m the only person who took ONE small issue with the article, something I thought was an unfair assessment, and I am taking shit for it.

Kelly, while I may have let my better judgement slip and posted some sentences that were a bit too snarky, I don’t have a problem with you. Like I said, the article, about 95% of it, was perfectly good and applaud you for it. I just think DC deserves some credit.

Whether you intended to or not, the way you phrased things, it was a Marvel vs. DC statement. “Without setting out to write this piece to take a swing at DC’s new 52…I find myself going there anyway.” Now, you may not have meant it in such stark terms as “Marvel VERSUS DC” but it was still basically 1. DC relaunch is a big failure and most of their books suck now and 2. Marvel does things way better. That’s the general synopsis of your argument, and I thought that was not only unfair, but incorrect.

I don’t want to write a column, I’m not a journalist. As one, you should probably be prepared to take a little flack if you take a position on something controversial – it usually means you’ll hear what people with the opposing position have to say. You should count yourself lucky, I think I was pretty amicable about this.

I also wanted to touch on this:

“I blame DC for PRETENDING to go out on a limb and try new things and then doing all of the same OLD things, including the creators they hired, who were a lot of times not the best and the brightest from their fields, but simply “old friends.” I think the line, in general, with some wonderful exceptions, proves it out. It’s a missed opportunity to me.”

You do have a point, books like Grifter exist because of a certain level of cronyism. But we’re also getting books like Dial H for Hero, Animal Man, etc. – the kind of books that require an open mind and a certain level of trust from higher ups. The fact that they would even consider them is a success, and that they’ve green lighted them is huge. I know you mentioned Animal Man, but it was more as the “exception” to DC’s shitty line-up. I would say it’s a stand-out book from a decent line-up that still has kinks to work out. A lot of people agree with me, that’s why I cited some sources – it’s evidence that backs up my opinion. And you kind of wrote them off as not counting because essentially they don’t share your opinion. Okay…..

@Anon 3:04:

You’re being treated as a troll for the following:

1. You’re posting under “Anonymous” every troll’s favorite moniker
2. You wrote a two paragraph response to one sentence in a 2k word piece, taking issue with one word, which you mis-quoted
3. You were snarky and aggressive for no reason right out of the gate.
4. You repeatedly superimposed things you thought I said, or think I believe, over the things that I actually said.
5. You insisted on “reading between the lines” instead of actually reading what I wrote, even when I asked you not to do that.
6. You continued to mis-quote me, or mis-understand me, even when I corrected you.
7. You spoke inaccurately about my “recent columns” as your “evidence”
8. You came onto my opinion column (and no, I do not call myself a journalist by any means) and tried to bully me into not having my own opinion. You are welcome to your own opinion in the comments, or on your own column, but I’m going to go ahead and have mine here and if you want to get snarky in the comments…then I have every right to come at you. So yes, your opinion is no more valid than mine on my OPINION column, no matter how many comic book reviewers back you up (seriously?)
9. You insulted me, several times, including in a negging way (i.e. a criticism wrapped up in a backhanded compliment)
10. You then told me I was lucky that you were so amicable (seriously dude? you actually wrote that)
11. If you’re new here, then I should let you know that this isn’t even the barest HINT of flack I take regularly while writing this column…go ahead, peruse the back list of posts…I’ll wait. Yeah, see all those comments? I have no problem dealing with flack, or criticism, but I have become less willing to let people push me around cause they’re feeling “snarky but amicable” on my own column.

And you’re not the only person I called out for a ridiculous comment…you’re just the one that kept coming back…another “Troll” quality.

@Anonymous: don’t you have anything better to do? you like the DC stuff, Kelly didn’t, big deal. the end.

@Kelly: great review!!! definitely sounds like they did Jean Grey in an interesting way, and Jamie’s stuff looks awesome as always. i like Iceman’s ice cube underwear, that should be his main costume.

But Kelly, i thought you were done! Alright, just to clarify:

1. I use Anon because I like to remain anonymous. Srysly, if I were a troll, I would have used a lot more profanity
2. I like to actually have meat to my comments; what’s the point of leaving one if it’s just the same “Oh, that was a nice article” Srysly, I thought maybe I’d spark some conversation. And I did. Mission: Complete
3. I was not aggressive out of the gate. A LITTLE snarky, yes, but you were the one who insulted me first. THAT was why I got aggressive. This one is all on you honey…
4. I don’t think so. Perhaps I may have misinterpreted things a couple of times. I was never trying to put words in your mouth, and if I did end up doing that, I’m sorry. But all the things I stated as my opinion on your opinions came from how I interpreted your opinions. Maybe if you clarified your point from the start instead of immediately going on the attack, I may have adapted and formed a more well-informed opinion.
5. This was more a joke, congrats on not getting it….
6. I misquoted you ONCE, everything else was a summation of your points as interpreted by myself, which is fair game to me as the reader and you failed to give much of a defense of.
7. Once again, part of what I mostly intended as joke (although I have a hard time believing that some of the anti-DC attitude of this article didn’t come from another certain article, but hey, if you say it didn’t…) , which I wrote on the fly and didn’t do fact checking on. Sorry, I thought you had another article after the WW one. I was wrong. This one is on me.
8. I’m not trying to bully you. I wanted a discourse. You stated your opinion, I stated my mine. That’s how these things work. I think you’re writing DC off unfairly, that’s my opinion, and I’m not the only person who thinks DC did a good job, just like it’d be naive of me to say that there aren’t people who completely disagree. I stated my reasons in pretty good detail about why I saw the 52 relaunch as a success. You didn’t go into detail and kind of just made generalizations and alluded to reasons. And after I poked you a bit, I got some reasons out of you. That was my goal from the start.
9. I NEVER insulted you. If it looked like I was being sarcastic, that was not my intent. I was genuine about my compliments. This is the one thing that upsets me the most – I did not want to start some kind of flame war, that’s why I gave the compliments. I didn’t see anything backhanded in them. I liked the articles you did on women in comics and Wonder Woman. I may have disagreed with you on a point about women’s portrayal, but on the vast majority of points and arguments you made, I agreed. And I was in your corner on the WW thing – it was a shitty idea to do what they did, it was unnecessary and will come back to bite them in the ass. That you think I was being sarcastic is saddening, I wasn’t trying to antagonize you. Yes, I’m snarky, but I do it in a playful way (at least I thought so up until now…), and I do it with EVERYBODY. That’s just my sense of humor. I may have taken the snarkiness a tad too far, but you elevated it first.
10. When it comes to the internet peanut gallery, I think you could have done a lot worse than me. Like I said, I was never trying to bully you. What you think is what you think, I just wanted a real response (not in the troll sense where all they want is some kind of response) with some content to it instead of just dismissing the subject. Tell me WHY. For example, you thought all but 6-12 of the new 52 books were complete shit, and that is a pretty controversial statement you have to admit, I wanted to test that because I’m on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, I wanted to find out what would make you think that.
11. I’m not convinced, because like I said, I was pretty much the ONLY person who both took issue with a small, small piece of the article (the Silver Age revision thing was more an aside on why I don’t think it’s a good idea, but it has no bearing on the quality of your article since 1. my argument doesn’t apply to this book since it’s not of the typical quality of Marvel’s revisionist reboots and 2. wasn’t really targeted at anything I thought was wrong with the article) and I got flack whenever I put my two cents in, getting whacked on the head like some kind of game of internet comment Whack-a-Mole. But hey, the nail that sticks up the farthest gets hit the hardest, right? And I’m not really bitter about it, at least not as much as you seem to be. I”m just pointing out the facts.

Great column Kelly. It’s been almost a year since I have bought any comic but after reading this column on my way home last night I made an impromptu train stop to pick up the trades for UXM season one and Wolverine and the X men (even though I hate the concept — Im a fan of Cyclops as mutant moses and Utopia as a unified mutant homeland but then I haven’t bothered to keep up with UXM so …). I haven’t had a chance to read the books (unlike Anonymous I don’t have all that much free time on my hands). But thanks for sharing your opinion – I’m looking forward to reading these books and taking more of your excellent advice.

I fully agree with X-Men #44. Changed my whole perspective of him.

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